Arizona state court system

Understanding how the system of Arizona state court works is very important as it helps you find court records easily.

Arizona Courts Overview

The trial court system of Arizona State consists of Tax Court, Municipal Courts, Justice Courts, and Superior Courts.

Arizona Superior Courts

Arizona Superior Courts have general jurisdiction over all criminal and civil cases, except when jurisdiction is completely assigned to another court or is limited by law. Any case that is beyond the jurisdiction of all the other Arizona courts is handled by Superior Courts.

The civil cases that Superior Courts have original jurisdiction over include divorce, estate, probate, annulment of marriage, naturalization, action to stop or prevent a nuisance, proceedings in insolvency, municipal ordinance legality, and civil cases that involve claims for a minimum of $10,000, excluding costs and interest.

Superior Courts have limited jurisdiction over all felony criminal cases. However, lower courts can handle the preliminary hearings of felony criminal cases. Superior Courts share jurisdiction over misdemeanors with Justice Courts when the potential penalty is $2,500 or less, or imprisonment doesn’t exceed six months.

Arizona Justice Courts

Arizona Justice Courts have restricted jurisdiction over criminal and civil cases. Criminal cases that Justice Courts handle include felony preliminary hearings, warrant applications, harassment and domestic violence, and criminal offenses that attract a potential fine that doesn’t exceed $2,500 or less than 6 months imprisonment.

Justice Courts in Arizona have original jurisdiction over all civil cases involving claims for a maximum of $10,000, not including costs or interest. These courts also hear cases that involve the possession of real property. Justice Courts also have Small Claims Court divisions that hear most civil cases involving claims not exceeding $3,500, excluding costs and interest. The Small Claims division doesn’t handle some types of cases, including slander, defamation, traffic violations, lawsuits against Arizona State or its employees, injunctive relief, specific performance, class action lawsuits, libel, criminal cases, and dispute involving the title of real property.

Justice Courts share jurisdiction over civil cases involving claims that do not exceed $10,000, excluding costs and interest, with Superior Courts. Some Justice Courts also share jurisdiction over traffic violations with Municipal Courts.

Arizona Municipal Courts

Arizona Municipal Courts have exclusive jurisdiction over petty offenses and misdemeanor crimes committed in their town or city, including violation of city codes and ordinances, and traffic offence cases. They also issue anti-harassment injunctions, protection orders, and search warrants.

Some towns and cities sometimes refer to their Municipal Courts as Magistrate Court or City Court. In the past, Municipal Courts and Magistrate Courts existed as separate courts in the Arizona State court system but that is no longer the case. Municipal Courts now have the jurisdiction and duties of both the former Magistrate and Municipal Courts.

Arizona Tax Court

Tax Court handles cases regarding disputes over collection, assessment, or imposition of any local or state tax. The Arizona Tax Court is actually the Tax Department of Maricopa County Superior Court and only has statewide jurisdiction but cannot handle cases involving federal taxes.

The Arizona Tax Court hears cases regarding disputes over the imposition, assessment, or collection of any state or local tax. It has statewide jurisdiction and hears cases involving property taxes, municipal sales taxes, and state taxes. It cannot hear cases regarding federal taxes.

Arizona Court Notes

Specialty Court Programs

There are some Arizona courts with programs that offer social services and treatment in lieu of imprisonment for certain non-violent offenders with mental health or substance abuse problems. DIU/Drug Court in Coconino County and Tucson City Court Mental Health Division are some of the examples.

Tribal Courts

There are some Native American nations in Arizona operating their own judicial systems, which are known as Tribal Courts. These courts have some criminal and civil jurisdiction. The Arizona court system may enforce the orders of Tribal Courts.

The Official Website of Arizona County

Phoenix City of Phoenix
Tucson Official website of the City of Tucson
Mesa City of Mesa The official web site for Mesa, Arizona
Chandler Welcome to Chandler, Arizona | City of Chandler
Glendale Glendale, Arizona Glendale, Arizona
Scottsdale City of Scottsdale – Home A discussion of parking options and challenges in Downtown Scottsdale.
Gilbert Town of Gilbert, Arizona
Tempe City of Tempe, AZ This is the official website for the City of Tempe, Arizona. You may find all information about the city and its government services here.
Peoria City of Peoria The official website for the City of Peoria Arizona features city news, upcoming events, online bill payment, issue reporting, and more.
Surprise Official Website – Surprise, Arizona | Official Website Official website of the City of Surprise, Arizona.
Yuma City of Yuma, Arizona Official City of Yuma, Arizona Government Website organized for Visitors, Business, Residents, Development, Government and City Departments.
Avondale City of Avondale Welcome to the City of Avondale, Arizona! Avondale is a modern city, near the heart of the Phoenix-metropolitan area. Avondale within Maricopa County.
Flagstaff City of Flagstaff Official Website | Official Website
Goodyear City of Goodyear The official website for the city of Goodyear. City Services, Jobs, Public Safety, News, Events and Local Government.
Lake Havasu City Discover Arizona’s Playground – Lake Havasu City Your site for exploring beautiful Lake Havasu City – hiking, biking, boating, fishing, golfing, offroading, shopping, dining, lodging, events and more!
Apache County Apache County, Arizona – Official Website
Cochise County Welcome to Cochise County, Arizona | Cochise County
Coconino County Coconino | Official Website
Gila County Welcome to Gila County Arizona
Graham County Graham County, AZ | Official Website
Greenlee County ash-peak-range
La Paz County La Paz County, AZ | Official Website
Maricopa County Maricopa County, AZ | Official Website
Navajo County Navajo County Arizona Government Services, Resources and Departments
Pima County Pima County Pima County Government Information and Top News, Engage News, Live News, Work News and Play News for all departments and Services including Tucson, Marana, Ajo, Oro Valley, Sahuarita, Three Points and Arivaca.
Pinal County Pinal County Online
Santa Cruz County Santa Cruz County, AZ – Official Website
Yavapai County Welcome to Yavapai County’s Official Website
Yuma County Yuma County The Official Site of Yuma County, Arizona
Mohave County Mohave County – Government Agency Providing resources to all Mohave County residents.